Tourism sector representatives expect buffets to be a thing of the past once the coronavirus pandemic ends because of attitudes concerning meal consumption.
World Tourism Forum Institute head Bulut Bagci said people are traumatized in situations like global outbreaks and cannot get past its effect for a long time.
Outbreaks change consumers habits and the tourism sector is the most affected by the novel coronavirus, Bagci told Anadolu Agency.
Tourism, a $1.7 trillion annual industry, lost at least $1 trillion because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
Consumers will prefer boutique hotels and holiday villages in the off-season instead of crowded facilities in peak season, Bagci estimated.
"Buffets, where tens or even hundreds of tourists line up and use same scoops or dishes to get meals, salads and desserts, will no longer be preferred," he said.
About 2,000 tourist can eat from the same buffet in an 800-room hotel but social distance cannot be maintained in that model leading tourists to prefer a la carte restaurants instead of buffets, which cause a lot of food to be wasted.
He said in Turkey, 26 million tons, or $214 billion in food, was wasted in 2018.
Hygiene and food safety come first
The chair of the Hotel Association of Turkey Muberra Eresin said hotels in resort provinces prefer buffets for breakfast and other meals.
After the pandemic, hotels recommend serving breakfast plates or a set menu instead of buffets, Eresin said.
"Hygiene and food safety come first. It is very difficult to predict which applications will change with the coronavirus epidemic, and which changes will be permanent at this stage, but I think that the buffet cannot be preferred," she added.
After originating in Wuhan, China last December, the virus has spread to at least 185 countries and regions across the world, with Europe and the U.S. now being the worst-hit regions.
Globally, the virus has infected more than 2 million patients and has claimed an excess of 132,200 lives, according to figures compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. More than 507,000 people have recovered.
*Writing and contributions by Gokhan ErgocunAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.